This all stinks of money being more important than health, slams Poppies boss Cox

The Kettering Town manager has had his say on the current chaos surrounding the National League North season

By Jon Dunham
Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 11:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 11:38 am
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter Short
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox. Picture by Peter Short

“This all stinks of money being more important than health.”

Those are the comments of Kettering Town manager Paul Cox as the National League North season hangs in the balance.

Clubs across all three divisions in the National League will be voting over the next 28 days to decide whether their seasons continue or not.

The vote has come about due to a number of clubs, including Kettering, being concerned over a lack of funding to keep the season going.

Clubs had been expecting a fresh round of grants, similar to what they had in the first three months but it has now emerged that only loans would be offered.

The North and South divisions had previously been suspended for two weeks with that period due to expire on Friday this week but there has been no indication of whether matches are to resume while the voting process takes place.

Cox and his players, the majority of whom are now not being paid due to no league matches being played, have continued to prepare for a possible resumption with the Poppies scheduled to host Chester on Saturday.

But the Kettering boss believes the biggest issue of the Covid-19 pandemic has been lost in the shuffle while clubs bicker with each other about whether the season should be played out to a finish.

And Cox believes the problems start at the very top of the National League.

“We need people to make decisions,” the Poppies manager said.

“I have said it before but there are people who are paid to make decisions who aren’t making them and that’s causing more frustration.

“A lot has been talked about when it comes to money and financing clubs but a lot of the health and safety and duty of care has gone under the table.

“I think a lot of people have forgotten there is a pandemic that none of us will probably experience again in our lifetime.

“Thousands of people are dying and there is a lockdown and we have this ‘elite’ status but we have not been brought into line with that ‘elite’ tag we have got.

“I feel like we have been let down. If we are the National League and North and South and we are ‘elite’ then why shouldn’t we have the duty of care and be tested twice a week like the EFL?

“All the talk has been about money and I will 100 per cent back our club in whatever it does.

“I just think the whole thing has become a farce. Everyone is looking after themselves when it comes to voting and those at the top of the ladder who really should be making a decision have abstained from that because they don’t want to upset one side or the other.

“If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be in the job. If you are paid to make big decisions, come to a decision, make it and then we move on.

“But, for me, there is a lot that needs to happen before this starts back and at the top of my list would be the health and well being of the footballers who are going out there every week and travelling up and down the country, mixing regularly but not getting the duty of care that the elite clubs above us are getting.

“They are putting their own health and that of their families on the line, we have to make sure they are looked after first and foremost.

“This all stinks of money being more important than health. I think we have forgotten about a pandemic that is killing a lot of people.

“I understand the money situation but if people want us to continue, there has to be finance to cover the loss of people not being in the ground but, more importantly for this moment in time, finances so that we can test our players and come into line.

“I don’t know if there has to be one disaster for this all to be highlighted.

“I love football, I have been involved in it professionally since I was 16 but I think there are people with blinkers on at the moment who are looking at their own gain rather than the sport as a whole.”